Thursday, September 19, 2019

My Old~Fashioned Victorian Sourdough Starter and Bread Recipe {Receipt}

 My dear friends, 

I hope you are well. I have tea in hand and some pumpkin tea snaps. It never fails that when fall sets in, and the air is brisk in the evenings, I can not get enough of anything pumpkin flavoured. The only thing that I am not mainly in favour of is a pumpkin candle. Halloween is my most favourite holiday. What is your most favoured jubilee? I begin holiday music in October. If I am making festivity gifts, I will inevitably put on A Happy Victorian Christmas or Enya holiday, to encourage my frame of mind.

I had a lovely weekend with my Beloved Gardener. He grilled our supper, and we watched football. Friday, I spent the whole day in the garage cleaning, organising and packing. It's refreshing and quite unfortunate that It took me so long to really make it lovely. Garage cleaning is most definitely a task that must be maintained; otherwise, the stuffiness will become inescapable. At least, that has been my experience. What say you? I love to walk into a garage, and all the shelves have friendly containers, concealed items inside with visually appealing labels. Don't you?

As I was thinking about the simplistic aspects of living and cooking using essential recipes, I thought I might share with you my homemade sourdough bread starter recipe. I love a simple supper. There were many o' nights that I served my children homemade bread with honey butter and a tall glass of chocolate milk. A few of my children would drizzle homemade preserves on their bread for a bit of sweet. That may sound like an inadequate supper, but my children simply loved it. I make around two loaves of bread a week for the gardener and me, whereas I used to make around 5 loaves. Admittedly, my children loved bread as a meal.

I acquired my sourdough starter recipe from a dear ol' woman named Mrs Darley. I met her in Alabama when I first moved there in 1991. All three of my darling sons were born in Alabama, and that's where I first began a homesteading lifestyle. My boys had never tasted store-bought bread until my youngest was around five years old. I have baked bread since I was nineteen years old. I mostly baked white bread as my dear children loved the taste much more than sourdough.

Admittedly, In Victorian times, sourdough bread had lower-class connotations, whereas, white bread was the standard among the middle to upper classes. 

I enjoy the taste of sourdough. It is also my dear gardeners most favourite of all, loaves of bread, inarguably, that makes it most common in our home.

The most impressive thing about a starter is the cultivation of each one. My starter was decades old when Mrs Darley gave me a portion of hers. I was capable of keeping it for more than seven years, feeding it daily, until we moved from Alabama, and I let it die, as I had to throw it out. It was disheartening. However, I have the recipe, and I know how to restart a new batch. How old is your starter? I would love to hear what variety of bread you bake.

I am ever so fond of Laura Ingall's Wilder and baking my own bread makes me feel one step closer to an old~fashioned lifestyle.

Never place the starter in a metal bowl, it is the worst for it. Metal and starter are not in favour of each other. I use either glass or my grandmother's ceramic bowls ONLY! Even when you bake your bread, bake it in a glass dish, or place your dough on lightly buttered parchment paper and then place it in the bread loaf pan. The reason for this is that if you bake your bread straight onto the metal pan, your loaf will taste like metal, which equates to rubbage.{smile} Also, I know from experience that to have a nice soft loaf of bread, you must use a significant amount of starter, and do not over-knead it. Just as with my pie crusts, I knead very little. That keeps it fluffy and prevents your bread from becoming chewy and hard. 

Think of where sourdough bread began. It was most prevalent among the gold rush miners and peasants. Many of them had travelling/nomadic lifestyles, so their receipts/recipes had to be simplistic and expeditious to make. 

 I have made many loaves of bread, and just as with anything, the more you do it, the better and more efficient you become. It takes me a good ten minutes to make a loaf of bread, and about two minutes to feed my starter daily. You may need to place a reminder in your diary, or calendar to remember to feed it. You won't have to keep the reminder forever; just until it becomes habitual. 

I can't tell you how often when I was beginning a new starter subsequently from a new move; I would forget to feed my starter, leading to its dissolution. Hence, I would have to start once more. 

Okay, so let us begin by "Catching Wild Yeast", as you are in fact catching wild yeast. The abundance of yeast is everywhere. It is on your hands, possibly the spoon you use even for your concoction in the making of said starter. 

Mix 1/4 cup clean {purified} water with 1/4 cup all~purpose flour.
Stir together with a wooden spoon. Cover it with a cloth.
Let it sit for a couple of days. In my experience, I start to see some action on day two.

Once you notice bubbles and a bit of a yeast smell {around day two or three,} eradicate half of the mixture, by scooping it out and disposing of it. 

Add 1/4 cup of purified water and 1/4 cup of flour again to the remaining starter, mix and cover it again. 

Repeat this every 8~12 hours for the next two weeks.

Remove half the starter, then add 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup four. Wait 8~12 hours and do it again. 

After several days of doing this, you will begin noticing that the bubbles have become more significant in size.  

By day 12~15 you will notice your starter will start to double in size after you feed it.

The next step that you will most definitely want to do if you enjoy a robust sour taste in your bread is to feed it and then leave it on the counter like this for up to a month. I highly recommend this step. It makes the bread taste so good. 

It does seem that to get your starter going in the right direction, initially, it can seem to be a bit of exasperation, however, once you've created your starter, it's quite simple afterwards. With anything of worth, the initial preparation is lengthy but well worth it in the end.

Once you have a successful starter, place it in your refrigerator until the day before you intend on making your first loaf of bread. Remove the bread starter from the fridge for several hours and allow it to be brought to room temperature.
Once it's warm, add 1/4 cup of bottled purified water and 1/4 cup of flour. This will activate the starter, causing it to bubble, 8-12 hours later, repeat. Your starter is now ready to use. 

2 1/2 ~3 cups sourdough starter
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt

Mix. Knead just a little. Form the dough into a round ball, set in a ceramic/glass bowl with a few teaspoons of olive oil in the bottom. Roll the ball into the oil coating the dough. Let it rise until doubled. I then place my dough into a glass pie dish, a little butter on the bottom. I then cut cross~hatches over the top. This breaks up surface tension. You don't have to do it, but i find that it makes the bread much prettier to look at. Bake the loaf at 425 degrees for about 20~25 minutes. You will need to watch this first loaf if it's the first time in your oven. All ovens cook differently. I tend to put the timer on for the allotted time, but continuously check it. I take my baked goods out when they look undercooked. I find that when I do this, it makes it the perfect golden brown.

Furthermore, I like my bread a light brown, and it's a much softer loaf this way. Immediately knock the dough out of the pie dish and onto a cutting board. If you don't, the bread will continue to cook, and it will be too crispy and dark. 

Now enjoy! I hope you liked this post. I shall write again, presently. 

Most affably yours til my next swim, Raquelxxx

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  1. Ooooh, that looks and sounds scrumptious! I tried to get a starter going a while back as it is hubby's favorite too. It was a flop. Not certain what happened. I might have to give it another whirl.
    Hope the packing is going well - always work, but feels good to "clean house."

    1. Thank you. I am attempting to keep the blog posts present even though I am in the midst of moving. Hows your packing going? Any news on the house sale?


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